182 THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
His foaming tusks let some large pippin grace,
Or 'midst these thundering spears an orange place ;
Sauce like himself, offensive to its foes,
The roguish mustard, dangerous to the nose ;
Sack, and the well-spiced hippocras, the wine
Wassail, the bowl with ancient ribands fine,
Porridge with plums, and Turkeys, with the chine."
Sack and hippocras are no longer to be found in our cellars; but, as we have shown, we still compound the wassail-bowl.
The Christmas dinner of modern days is—as most of our readers know, a gathering together of generations, an assembling of Israel by its tribes. Contrast with this modern Christmas dinner—as well as with the high festival of yore—the dreary picture of a Christmas-day and dinner, under the stern prescription of the Puritans—as given in his diary, by Pepys, the chatty secretary to the Admiralty. " 1668, Christmas-day. To dinner," thus he writes, " alone with my wife ; who, poor wretch ! sat undressed, all day till ten at night, altering and lacing of a noble petticoat; while I, by her, making the boy read to me the life of Julius Caesar and Des Cartes' book of Music."
But the best of the day is yet to come!—and we should have no objection to join the younger members of the group, in the merry sports that await the evening. We need not give the programme. It is like that of all the other Christmas nights. The blazing fire, the song, the dance, the riddle, the jest, and many another merry sport, are of its spirits. Mischief will be committed under the misletoe bough,—and all the good wishes of the season sent round under the sanction of the wassail-bowl.